Cedar River (above Nashua): Water levels are falling. Water clarity is improving. Use caution when boating; submersed hazards are not visible. Channel Catfish - Good: Use worms and cheese or stink baits fished on the river bottom. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits or crankbaits fished deep. Walleye - Fair: Try a jig and twister tail or worm fished in the eddies and slack water.
Clear Lake: The water temperature is in the upper 70's. Walleye - Fair: Anglers are having success slip bobber fishing the rock reefs with a jig and leech and fishing under docks with a minnow. Channel Catfish - Good: Drift fish the rock reefs with a jig and crawlers. Yellow Bass - Good: Fish the edge of vegetation in 4 to 6 feet of water with a small piece of crawler or leech.
Crystal Lake: Largemouth Bass - Good: Try spinnerbaits fished on the edge of the vegetation. Black Crappie - Fair: Drift fish a minnow or tube jig in the dredge cut.
Silver Lake (Worth): Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are biting on a variety of baits. Bluegill - Good: Use a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber in 2 to 3 feet of water.
Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake): White Bass - Fair: Use leeches, crawlers and twisters. Walleye - Fair: Try leeches or pull crankbaits along the dredge cuts on the east side of the lake and to the west of the big island. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try cut bait, stink bait or crawlers fished on the bottom. Target areas with rocky structure.
Decorah District Streams: Wild parsnip is drying out; use caution when walking through this plant to get to your favorite stream. Keep your arms and legs covered to avoid nasty blisters. A few streams are not stocked in July and August; water temperatures tend to get too warm for trout. Brown Trout - Good: Brown trout are feasting on terrestrial insects; try grasshopper or cricket flies. Also try crayfish. Rainbow Trout - Good: A crappie or bluegill set-up works great for trout fishing. Put a piece of cheese or small piece of worm on a hook under a bobber in a good hole and wait. Brook Trout - Fair: With dirtier water, try using woolly buggers, San Juan worms or other subsurface flies and lures.
Upper Iowa River (above Decorah): Water remains dirty and flows are high. Use care when paddling; submersed logs and rocks are not visible. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits or jig tipped with plastic tails fished in the deeper pools and eddies. Walleye - Fair: Fish undercut ledges and brush piles.
Upper Iowa River (below Decorah): Water remains dirty. Use caution on the water; high flows and limited visibility can cause dangerous conditions for paddlers. Smallmouth Bass - Fair. Walleye - Fair.
Lake Hendricks: Water temperatures are in the low 80's. Clarity is improving, but an algae bloom will limit visibility. Fish are sitting higher in the water column. Black Crappie - Fair: Crappie are hit or miss. A slow troll might get one to come to a hook. Bluegill - Fair: Find fish in deeper water on the edge of weed beds. Use a small piece of worm under a bobber. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater lures fished in the edge of weeds. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are biting. Use worms, stink bait or cheese baits. Leave your bait on the bottom until you feel a tug; set the hook.
Lake Meyer: Water temperatures are in the low 80's. Water clarity is excellent. Anglers reporting hit or miss action for panfish. Bluegill - Fair. Black Crappie - Fair. Largemouth Bass - Fair. Channel Catfish - Good.
Volga Lake: Water temperatures are in the mid 80's. A green algal bloom is present. With warmer temperatures, dissolved oxygen is limiting depth availability for fish. Bluegill - Fair: Fish found at depths of 6 feet or less. Use a small piece of worm on a small hook under a bobber. Black Crappie - Fair: Slowly troll through the lake to find suspended fish. Largemouth Bass - Fair. Channel Catfish - Excellent.
Kathryn Barton - muskie
Steve Young muskie 1
Kid catches muskie
Houston muskie in East Park
Logan Conway and Muskie
Steve Ibarra 2
Sea Wall muskie
Clear Lake muskie
Redig's big fish
12th Street cat
Tom Caswell's Muskie
Big fish in St. Ansgar
Santee's northern pike
Richards' river monster
Mike Uhlenhopp's northern pike
Lenz lands a big one
Georgia Hanford cat
Frank and the fish
Echelbarger's northern pike
East Park walleye
Mom and son muskie
2 for one on Clear Lake
Big muskie caught on Clear Lake in January, 2016
Jeff Lutcavish with giant northern
Catfish in Clear Lake
Fall Classic walleye
Jensen's Fishing the Midwest: Fall can be the best time for trophy fish
Depending on where you live, the young people and their teachers are getting ready to go back to school, football season is either here or just around the corner, and the fall fishing season is not far off. Some folks may not like this progression of seasons, but many anglers do. They know that autumn can provide the best fishing of the year for both numbers of fish and trophy fish. Many anglers have caught the biggest fish of their life in the fall. If we want to take full advantage of fall fishing, now is a good time to make preparations to do so. Following are some things to keep in mind as we prepare for fall fishing.
Whether you’re fishing a lake, river, or reservoir, at some point in the fall the fish will school up. In the summer they’ll be loosely schooled more of the time, but when the fish feel the water temperatures drop and notice the days getting shorter, they’ll group up. Therefore, it works well to keep moving with an eye on your sonar until you find where the fish are hanging out.
The importance of paying attention to your sonar was once again driven home on a fall trip to Lake Kabetogama a couple of years ago. Kab is known for its walleyes, but it’s also a world-class smallmouth fishery. We were fishing for the smallmouth on deep structures. We located the structures on the maps in our sonar units, then cruised over them looking for fish. The first two spots were fishless, the third showed fish.
We dropped jigs and dropshot rigs to them and had immediate action. Just for the heck of it, we tried similar looking structures that didn’t show fish on the sonar, and that’s what we caught: Nothing. The fact that you’ve got to fish where the fish are if you want to catch fish was reinforced that day. We were using Raymarine sonar at the time: I can’t remember which units we had, but the Axiom series of sonar from Raymarine that we’re using now does an amazing job of showing fish, and they have the other features necessary that make fish-catching so much more consistent.
Start the autumn season off with fresh line. Just as we start the season with fresh line, we want to be sure our connection to the fish is in good shape in the fall. Be sure that when that fish-of-a-lifetime eats your bait, your line will be ready to handle it. There are lots of line choices out there, and they all have a purpose. With that said, day-in and day-out, I use P-Line CX or CXX Premium. These are kind of like monofilament line, and I’ve developed a lot of trust in them. If I want more sensitivity and better hooksetting ability, I use XTCB braid with a Tactical fluorocarbon leader. This set-up provides the ultimate in strength and minimal stretch, yet allows for a very natural presentation.
In the fall, fish like larger lures. Even the smaller fish eat bigger baits in the autumn. Mother Nature tells the fish that it’s better to eat one large meal instead of several smaller ones. Use big bait for big fish.
There are lots of options for recreation in the fall. Football and hunting take up lots of folk’s time. But if you like to fish, reserve some time for doing-so. The weather is pleasant, the scenery is nice, and the catching can be outstanding. Discover that for yourself when the leaves on the trees turn colorful.
Muskies: Mitchell County Conservation intern explains 'the mystery fish' (with photos)
OSAGE | Local anglers had an opportunity to hear about the “mystery fish" -- also known more commonly as the muskie, from Levi Nettleton, recent naturalist intern with Mitchell County Conservation.
Nettleton, who will be a senior science education major at the University of Northern Iowa this fall, told attendees muskies are known as the mystery fish because of their unpredictability.
“Muskies are very unpredictable,” he said. “You can find them in waters that are 6 inches to a 100 feet deep. They look like a pike, but they have six teeth instead of five teeth like northern, and northern are spotted.”
Nettleton said a female Muskie can lay up to 265,000 eggs, but their survival rate is very low. They spawn best in water temps of 55 to 65 degrees, laying their eggs randomly in shallow waters where predators can consume the eggs.
“Many fishermen believe the muskie is a major consumer of other game fish such as bass and walleye, but they are apt to eat softer fish like bullheads and minnows,” Nettleton said, noting they also eat insects, crayfish, small mammals and waterfowl.
"Many believe they are aggressive, but that isn’t true, unless they are feeding," he said. "They are complicated for naturalists to study.”
Nettleton said Muskies’ habitats also vary, meaning they can be found in weeds like tobacco cabbage or 30 feet deep in open water. He said fisherman can find them in different places throughout the year.
Nettleton shared his enthusiasm for catching the large game fish, something he started four years ago.
“Once you do it, it can become an addiction," he said. "There's a lot of skill in muskie fishing, and sometimes, muskies are called the fish of a 100,000 casts.”
Nettleton’s study has rewarded him well, as he caught and released 36 muskies last year and 12 so far this year.
Fishermen seeking muskies typically use 7- to 10-foot rods, according to Nettleton. He uses a 300- to 400-foot reel with 22 pounds of drag, with 50-100 braid line and steel or fluorocarbon leaders.
He also carries needle-nosed pliers longer than 8 inches and a rubberized net, so he doesn't harm the Muskie.
He gave some additional pointers:
• Leave the catch in the water and support and release it when the fish is calm.
• Cut the hook if the fish has been deep-hooked.
• Don't fish over 80 degrees.
• If trolling, start at 2 mph, increasing to 4 mph.
• Do figure-eights to attract muskies.
Nettleton, who whose biggest catch was 53 inches long, said there are Muskies in the Cedar, Iowa, Shell Rock, and Winnebago rivers, as well as in Clear Lake.
The largest populations of muskies are in Minnesota, according to Nettleton, where the largest caught was 56 inches long and weighed 54 pounds.